The Modern Day "Dear Abby"

Just got back from the Adolescent Sexuality Conference in Seaside, OR where I got to talk about oral sex for 90 minutes :-). Great discussions, and the passion just exuded from all participants. People who work in sex education really care about what they do and how it affects young people. Events like that remind me of why I love working in this field so much and it makes it really hard to go back to my “real” job.

Anyhoo, I went to a presentation lead by Nora Gelperin of Sex Etc., a website for teens by teens. It is one of the best sex ed resources for young people because of its accurate information, responsible fact checking, and unique combination of youth voice and expert information.

In the workshop, Nora had the participants guess the most common questions teens asked about sex in their “Ask the Experts” section. And the answers are (drum roll, please)…

Boys ask about penis size and masterbation. Nuff said.

Girls ask about pregnancy (can I get pregnant if….) and painful sex (does it hurt the first time?).

If you work with youth or have teens these may not surprise you. What I like about these topics is that they are REAL. These are questions that pertain to everyday life, the logistics of sex and sexuality, and are a part of being a sexual being. When it comes to sex, this is what teens want to know.

Do we talk about this in school? Heck no. Do parents talk about these things in the legendary “birds and the bees” talk? Rarely. Yet these are the concerns teens have. And thanks to the internet, they can get answers to these questions — ones that are not brought up in their other sources of sex education and ones that they would probably not dare utter out loud. Places like Sex Etc. are like a large-scale anonymous question box — a place where a young person can get the information they need without fear of judgement and scrutiny.

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